Trump trade war escalates as China vows to impose tariffs worth $60 billion on US goods

Beijing says it will 'never surrender to external pressure' as US-Chinese trade negotiations seemingly dissolve

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 13 May 2019 14:27
President Trump says trade deal with China still possible this week

China has responded to an increase in tariffs Donald Trump’s administration threatened to impose by vowing to issue $60bn (£46bn) worth of tariffs against US goods.

The escalating trade war arrives amid an apparent dissolve in US-Chinese trade negotiations.

Mr Trump warned China against retaliating to his new promises of tariffs in a series of misspelled tweets Monday, saying the country would “hurt very badly” if the trade war were to continue.

Beijing said it would "never surrender to external pressure" in a statement Monday morning just before announcing its own new tariffs against the US.

The move by China follows a US tariffs hike on $200bn (£153.5bn) worth of Chinese goods. According to the Chinese Finance Ministry, the new penalty duties will take effect 1 June and vary from five to 25 per cent against a range of US products, including coffee, spinach and batteries.

“I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries,” Mr Trump tweeted Monday.

He added, “Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!”

Mr Trump also ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to begin imposing tariffs on all remaining imports from China last week, a move that would affect about an additional $300bn (£230.32) worth of goods.

Chinese state media also kept up a steady drum beat of strongly-worded commentary on Monday, reiterating that the country’s door to talks was always open, but vowing to defend the country’s interests and dignity.

“At no time will China forfeit the country’s respect, and no one should expect China to swallow bitter fruit that harms its core interests,” China’s top newspaper, the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said in a commentary.

State television said in a separate commentary that the effect on the Chinese economy from the US tariffs was “totally controllable”.

“It’s no big deal. China is bound to turn crisis to opportunity and use this to test its abilities, to make the country even stronger.”

Ahead of talks last week, China wanted to delete commitments from a draft agreement that Chinese laws would be changed to enact new policies on issues from intellectual property protection to forced technology transfers. That move dealt negotiations to resolve the trade dispute a major setback.

Mr Trump has since defended the tariff hike and said he was in “absolutely no rush” to finalise a deal.

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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that there was a “strong possibility” Trump will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Japan in late June.

Reuters contributed to this report

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